The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought responses of the Centre and AAP government on a PIL which claimed the use of petroleum coke with the sulphur content of more than 1.2 per cent by industries in the national capital region was having a detrimental effect on air quality.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao also issued notice to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), its subordinate bodies in Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, as well as the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) seeking their replies to the plea which claimed that use of petroleum coke (pet coke) of higher sulphur content than 1.2 per cent makes the ambient air quality "toxic" and was "harmful for human beings".
The petition by the city resident Vinay Kumar Dubey has alleged that though Delhi banned the use of furnace oil and pet coke in 1996, these continued to be used in the national capital region (NCR) by aluminium industries, cement factories, dyeing units, paper mills, brick kilns and ceramic manufacturers.
It said that even as the Environment Ministry put restrictions on the import of pet coke into NCR due to the high pollution levels here, recently BIS allowed use of pet coke with sulphur content of up to 3.5 per cent by aluminium industries and the CPCB and Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) concurred with the decision without first carrying out a scientific study of the impact.
The petition has sought directions to the industries, especially those manufacturing aluminium, which are operating in the adjoining states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh to use calcined pet coke which has sulphur content between 1-1.2 per cent.
Apart from that, it has sought quashing of the BIS notification of October 3, 2018, which increased the upper limit of sulphur content in pet coke to 3.5 per cent.
The petitioner has claimed that increasing the upper limit would lead to a rise in the amount of pollutants released into the environment by such industries.
(With inputs from agencies.)